Articles & Notes, Ideas & Personal creations — October 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

RED STAR: an idea for a science-fiction drama

Anyone heard of Alexander Bogdanov? No? Well the man was a Russian physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and revolutionary of Belarusian ethnicity (he was born in what today is Belarus, and back then it was Russian empire).

Anyway, one day, I accidentally caught a documentary on one of local network channels about him, and I quickly realized this would have been made into a feature movie.

Bogdanov’s innovative work on the comparative study of economic and military power of European nations, written in 1912-1913, was the first interdisciplinary work ever on systems analysis, which he later merged with tectology.

Bogdanov discovered what have become modern principles of systems theory and systems analysis, although his research remained unknown to systems theory posterity until many decades after his death.

His works on systems analysis were not translated in his lifetime. Anyway, in 1924, Bogdanov started doing his infamous “blood transfusion” experiments, hoping to gain eternal youth, or at least partial rejuvenation.

Now, back to the documentary I watched in TV: They claim Bogdanov had this idea (that not many know about) that when russian government would be able to fly to outer space, and discover new planets, they would “fill” these planets with “eternal humans” that he, Bogdanov, would provide.

I suppose, based on his blood transfusion experiments, he wanted to achieve that, and make sure that the newly discovered planets would be populated by people who would never die.

Lenin’s sister Maria Ulianova was among many who volunteered to take part in Bogdanov’s experiments. After undergoing 11 blood transfusions, he remarked with satisfaction on the improvement of his eyesight, suspension of balding, and other positive symptoms. The fellow revolutionary Leonid Krasin wrote to his wife that “Bogdanov seems to have become 7, no, 10 years younger after the operation”.

In 1925-1926, Bogdanov founded the Institute for Haemotology and Blood Transfusions, which was later named after him. But a later transfusion cost him life, when he took the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis. Some scholars (e.g. Loren Graham) have speculated that his death may have been a suicide, because Bogdanov wrote a highly nervous political letter shortly beforehand, while others attribute it to blood type incompatibility, which was poorly understood at the time.

Bogdanov also wrote science fiction to test out his political-scientific ideas. Most of Bogdanov’s works remain unavailable in English. In 1908, Bogdanov published the novel, Red Star about a utopia set on Mars. In it, he made predictions about future scientific and social developments.

His utopia also dealt with feminist themes, which would become more common in later utopian science fiction, e.g., the two sexes becoming virtually identical in the future, or women escaping “domestic slavery” (one reason for physical changes) and being free to pursue relationships with the same freedom as men, without stigma.

Other notable differences between the utopia of Red Star and present day society include workers having total control over their working hours, as well as more subtle differences in social behavior such as conversations being patiently “set at the level of the person with whom they were speaking and with understanding for his personality although it might very much differ from their own”. The novel also gave a detailed description of blood transfusion in the Martian society.

Anyway, I think all of the info above could be a great start for a story that could be brought to the silver screen. It could have been a cool science-fiction movie, with a modern twist maybe, and Hugo Weaving could play Bogdanov.

Maybe such movie has already been made, but to be honest, I haven’t done much of research to be 100% sure. However, the idea seems very interesting to me. Definitely something that could be exploited.

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